Many of her fans consider Nutan to be the finest dramatic actress of Hindi cinema. The films below prove her weight in gold. Let's take a look at her best performances till date.
1. Seema(1955): Nutan played a juvenile delinquent Gauri who is passed on from one custodian to another after her parents’ death. The character evolves from pointless rebellion to a sorted social animal. Nutan, in the infancy of her career took on the complex character imbuing its inexpressible rage with dignity and social relevance. The actor par excellence won the first of her 5 Filmfare awards for best actress. The song Mann mohana bade jhoothe that Nutan sang in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice impressed Lataji so much that she declared Nutan as the actress who conveys the nuances in Lataji’s singing the best.Amiya Chakravarty who directed Seema worked only once with Nutan.He died soon after completing Seema.
2. Sujata(1959): Nutan’s portrayal of the Harijan woman is so filled with an unexpressed angst your heart breaks just watching Nutan’s vulnerable face, yearning to be loved by the family that has adopted her but not her identity. The performance to this day is a marvel of smothered emotions.Kamal Bose brilliant black-and-white photography captures the unspoken pain in Nutan’s eyes. The performance got Nutan her second Filmfare award. Nutan had two other hit releases the same year Anari and Kanhaiya both with Raj Kapoor as her co-star.She was the hero of Sujata.
3. Bandini(1964): She can do anything for love.Even kill her beloved’s nagging wife and go to jail.And when a chance to rebuild her life offers itself to Kalyani she shuns it and runs back to the same man who unintentionally ruined her life. Love has never been blinder and the on-screen heroine never more resolute and passionate. Nutan’s dilemma as Sachin Dev Burman sings Mere saajan hain uss paar endures to this day for every woman who is in love.This was Bimal Roy’s second and last film with Nutan. When Bimalda offered the role to Nutan she refused as she had just gotten married and intended to retire. Apparently her husband persuaded her to return where she belonged.Some faces are made for the camera and then there is that rare face for which the camera seems to be invented. Nutan’s is that face.
4. Saraswatichandra(1968): Govinda Saraiya’s convoluted adaptation of the Govardhanram Madhavram Tripathi novel was redeemed by Nutan’s performance and Kalyanji-Anandji’s music. Nutan played Kumud, a progressive educated girl from a privileged family who marries the wrong man and fights off all feelings for the man she loves until the tragic end. The theme of Love Vs Duty cuts through the lengthy film nursing its wounds but not quite healing the end-product. Nutan puts up a fabulous show obfuscating her deadpan co-star’s non-acting with stinging swipes at societal subterfuge and some of the loveliest melodies any heroine has ever conveyed on screen Chandan sa badan, Chhod de saari duniya kisike liye….Interesting trivia: Nutan had 4 uninterrupted releases co-starring Sunil Dutt between 1967-69(Milan, Meherban, Gauri, Bhai Bahen) broken only by Saraswatichandra.
5. Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki(1978): The first 15 minutes of this lengthy rambling but successful melodrama contains Nutan at her best. She is a woman openly jealous of her husband’s mistress Asha Parekh .Later when the Other Woman dies , Nutan brings up her husband’s illegitimate child as her own.Standing tall, much taller than the film, Nutan delivered a rousing performance.Asha Parekh who played the Other Woman recalls, “I was a big fan of Nutanji. Very scared to face the camera with her. She has such a powerful presence. But she never let me feel the weight of her presence. She was so gentle, so soft.” Nutan won her fifth Filmfare award for this performance, a record matched only by her niece Kajol.
Image source: IMDb
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